Shield Uptime with Good Upkeep

Downtime is a problem as outdated as manufacturing itself – and one thing that trade has lengthy solved with innovation. Greater than 100 years in the past, for instance, Henry Ford’s famed transferring meeting line proved to be a much more productive different to counting on “runners” to ship components to autoworkers at a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. 

As we speak, innovation abounds in manufacturing. Related, extra data-driven operations mixed with disruptive expertise like augmented actuality (AR) and synthetic intelligence (AI) are unleashing unprecedented manufacturing insights and new and smarter methods of working. 

This digital transformation is usually mentioned within the context of “sensible manufacturing.” But it surely’s simply as related to machine upkeep as it’s machine operation. And a better, extra environment friendly and data-driven strategy to upkeep is one thing trade wants proper now as challenges like the worldwide expertise scarcity and pandemic threaten uptime and productiveness. 

Three Alternatives 

There’s no rulebook that defines what sensible upkeep is or find out how to implement it. As a substitute, each firm should determine what upkeep issues it desires to resolve and what applied sciences can resolve these issues whereas delivering one of the best ROI. This could look like a lofty endeavor given the big selection of sensible gadgets and software program accessible on the market. And in some instances, one of the best strategy is to herald an skilled associate that may carry focus and objective to a sensible upkeep initiative. 

Nevertheless, typically all corporations want is an understanding of the enabling applied sciences to spark an thought. With that in thoughts, listed below are three key applied sciences that may assist enhance upkeep methods and cut back – or even keep away from – unplanned downtime: 

1. Good Gadgets

 A variety of sensible gadgets present diagnostic and operational insights to assist technicians reply to points rapidly and proactively. Good sensors, for instance, can monitor just about any parameter of an operation to create a transparent image of what’s taking place with an asset, course of, and even complete facility. They’ll additionally present insights into their well being and communication standing to assist technicians tackle points rapidly and probably earlier than they trigger downtime. 

Good security gadgets may cut back downtime. Historically, security gadgets are hardwired in a sequence and lack diagnostic information. This could make it tough to pinpoint machine failures. Good security gadgets can present security and diagnostic information over EtherNet/IP, which can assist technicians rapidly establish what particular security machine has a difficulty. 

Good motor-control gadgets may ship beneficial well being and efficiency insights to assist defend uptime. Good digital overload relays, for instance, can supply real-time motor diagnostics and time-to-trip insights to assist technicians proactively establish and tackle points. And sensible servo drives can calculate the remaining lifespan of key parts so technicians can exchange them earlier than they fail. 

2. AR Expertise 

Technicians can higher collaborate with colleagues and companions, and uncover fully new, extra environment friendly methods of working once they use the facility of AR expertise. Take into account how technicians work with distant companions like OEM assist engineers at this time. If a technician is making an attempt to diagnose a machine failure, for example, they’ll spend appreciable time making an attempt to explain and troubleshoot the issue with a assist engineer over the cellphone. If they’ll’t resolve the issue this manner, the engineer could have to journey on web site to repair the problem, extending the downtime from hours to days. 

Utilizing AR expertise, the assist engineer can be part of the technician in an AR expertise. The engineer can see what the technician sees and even make 3D digital notations within the AR atmosphere. This could significantly velocity up troubleshooting and restore occasions – and ship massive financial savings if the assist engineer doesn’t have to journey on web site. 

Technicians may entry digital work directions in an AR expertise. This immediate entry to restore or servicing directions can cut back service occasions in comparison with utilizing paper-based upkeep manuals. 

3. Cloud-based CMMS 

A cloud-based computerized upkeep system (CMMS) can assist upkeep groups work extra effectively and catch crimson flags that they could in any other case miss. For instance, repairs and preventative upkeep (PM) aren’t all the time avoidable. However this work could be carried out extra effectively to scale back downtime. Utilizing a cloud-based CMMS, manufacturing employees can log work requests, create PM triggers, and even leverage sensors to create work orders based mostly on a machine’s real-time situation. 

Moreover, when a technician is responding to a difficulty, they’ll log right into a cellular CMMS app from wherever as a substitute of needing to speak to a workstation the place the CMMS is put in. The technician may evaluate an asset’s historical past, location of spare components and extra, to start out repairing the asset sooner. A cloud-based CMMS may even analyze work orders and establish those which can be anticipated to trigger severe points like breakdowns. This can assist upkeep groups prioritize – and stop – issues.

Good upkeep presents an alternative to rethink how issues are carried out. Good gadgets can take away blind spots in manufacturing. AR expertise could make collaboration instantaneous, even throughout time zones. Cloud-based CMMS can flip work orders right into a supply of insights.

 However quickly, sensible upkeep could not simply be a chance, it could be a aggressive necessity.

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